Essay Museum Visit

The Museum Experience

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The Museum Experience


One of my favorite things to do when traveling in a new city is to visit the museums. I
have never been to a city that did not offer the usual museum fare, usually in the form of the “Anytown Art Museum”, or the “Anytown Museum of Natural History”. While these types of museums house some incredible artifacts, and I do visit them often, I also like to seek out museums of a more unusual sort.

Museums are mostly the same just about everywhere you go, both in the United States
and Europe. They offer the visitor a glimpse into the past culture of any given city or country by displaying relics found throughout the world. But there are also many museums that showcase artifacts of the culture in a much more specific way. Some fine examples of these kinds of museums include the Pez Museum, close to San Francisco, dedicated to the little candy dispenser, the Muzeum hracek in Prague, dedicated to toys of the world, both past and present, the Dungeon, a history of Medieval torture, also in Prague, and the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas, dedicated to all things Liberace--and I mean all things. The Pez Museum is not actually in San Francisco, but is located south of the city in a town called Burlingame. If you are in the Bay Area for any reason, do not miss this museum! Remember when you were a little kid, and you loved to collect Pez dispensers? Well, times have changed, and now Pez collections mean big money, and big business. The most expensive Pez dispenser to date is the short lived Mr. Potato Head dispenser, complete with a make-it-yourself face. This Pezsells for $5,000 at auction! This museum contains literally hundreds of Pez Dispensers, collected since their inception back in the Fifties. While Pez may not compare to a Rodin sculpture in terms of being considered classical art, obviously there are some people out there who appreciate the finer nuances of a mere candy dispenser.

Toy museums abound throughout the world. I have been lucky enough to have visited
two toy museums in my life, both in Europe. The first one was in a quaint town in Germany
called Rothenburg. This town dates back to the Medieval era, and is one of the few towns in Western Europe that is still contained within it’s original defense walls. Because most of the buildings inside the walls are original, this town has become a major tourist attraction for European tourists.

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The Toy and Puppet Museum in Rothenburg is displayed in a 15th century house just outside the walled part of the city. It contains over 800 dolls and puppets from France and Germany dating back some 200 years. When you walk into this museum, you are immediately overwhelmed by all of the faces staring back at you. Most of the dolls and puppets are in cases, and as you wander through the halls, you get this creepy feeling of their eyes following you as you go. The puppets are fascinating.

Once upon a time, puppet shows traveled throughout the countryside, entertaining the
masses just like the movies do today. Puppet shows were also a vehicle to bring news of the current events and developing politics of the cities to those in the countryside. It is fascinating to see the development and evolution of these puppets through the ages. As the cultures of France and Germany changed, so did the puppets facial expressions, clothing and accessories. The other toy museum I visited was located in the Count’s chambers in Prague Castle, the Museum hracek. This museum offers more of a variety of toys than just dolls and puppets like the one in Rothenburg. The museum showcases toys from the last 150 years including intricate toys made oftin and toy clocks that really work. The delicate workmanship of these clocks and tin toys speaks volumes about the evolution of toys from then to now. Children love technological toys no matter what age they live in.

The Barbie doll collection here needs to be seen to be believed. Hundreds of Barbie dolls
live in their own separate room of the museum. They range from the first Barbie who debuted in 1959 and stands alone in her own case, though the beach Barbies of the Sixties and Seventies, with their pop-up campers, Dream Houses, and convertibles, to the glitzy, glamorous Barbies of today. The most profound image I took away from the Barbie collection was the development and various uses of plastics from those early years to today. Toy museums are popular for two reasons, they show an aspect of a culture that an art or history museum may not address, but more importantly, they take the visitor back to their own childhood when they see the toys that they played with when they were young, and awaken the imagination again in ways not known for years. Another popular topic for museums in Europe is the torture museum. The Dungeon, in Prague is the only one I have visited, but there are several others as well in Germany and France.

In fact, there is a website devoted to torture museums in Europe. Torture was a common practice in Medieval Europe both for punishment and gathering information, and I suppose the fascination lives on. The Dungeon displays some interesting instruments used in the Middle Ages. They run the gamut from the traditional thumbscrew, to various brands that were used to signify the type of crime committed, to some very painful looking stretching racks, ankle screws, and hanging devices.

One interesting device, called the “Crown of Thorns” is an iron ring with several nails
woven into it. This ring is placed on the prisoner and pounded down around his skull until the nails pierce it and he dies. Hopefully, the prisoner yields his information before this happens. The devices in this museum are displayed in eerily lit cases along the dark hallways, but one interesting feature of this museum if the series of panoramas showing the devices in use on life-like wax figures. The facial expressions of the prisoners as they undergo the various tortures are priceless. The most outrageous museum I have ever visited was the Liberace museum in Las Vegas.

This museum was founded by Liberace himself, and is run by his non-profit organization that awards scholarships for the arts to deserving students. If you are looking for a really fun way to give something back to the academic community, by all means visit this museum when you are in Las Vegas. Liberace was one of the most flamboyant entertainers of the last century. He wore extravagant costumes, played extravagant pianos, and drove extravagant cars. His favorite embellishment was the mirrored tile.

In order to house this fantastic collection, the museum consists of two buildings. The first building houses the piano and car collection. Liberace owned many of the pianos featured at his concerts. They range from the traditional to the outrageous. One of them is covered with the tiny mirrored tiles that he loved so much. You need to wear your sunglasses to look at it properly. The piano room also houses some very valuable antique pianos, one of which Chopin played on. This piano is off limits to the public, but can be seen from behind the ropes that separate it from the others in the room. All I could think of when I was in these rooms was “Elton John only wishes he owned these pianos!”
His car collection is fantastic as well. He always arrived on stage in one of his beautiful cars. There are about ten cars that line the sides of the room. Every one of them is painted, plastered, and decorated with flames, glitter, gems, stars and stripes, and whatever else you can think of that is sparkly and shiny. Yes, one of these cars is embellished with his beloved mirrored tiles, too. Impressive!

The second building houses Liberace’s vast collection of costumes and stage jewelry.
Here, too, all is sparkly and shiny. There are suits of all kinds, displayed on dummies throughout the room. They range from the staid, basic polyester with fur collar and cuffs, to the famous “King Neptune” suit. Almost all of his clothing is studded with some sort of sequin or rhinestone. He even has a fur cape lined in rhinestones! Yes, there is a suit that is entirely covered in tiny mirrored tiles as well. I had a vision of Liberace arriving on stage in his mirror tiled car, wearing his mirror tiled suit, and playing his mirror tiled piano. The glare alone was probably seen from space!

Liberace was a fanatic about his jewelry as well. His collection is bigger and better than anything Liz Taylor ever owned. There are no mirrored tiles or sequins here, however. These are the real deal--diamonds, diamond chips, pave diamonds, platinum, gold, white gold. All of the pieces are elaborately shaped. Because he played the piano, the focus was on his hands, and his ring collection is very unique. There are horseshoes for good luck, huge diamond shaped rings, studded with diamonds, rings shaped like pianos, and one very extravagant candelabra ring that must be seen to be believed.

The Liberace museum is my favorite museum to date, but there is one museum that I
would love to visit if I am ever in New Delhi, India, The International Museum of Toilets! Yes, there is a museum dedicated to the history and use of the toilet!
Dr. The museum was founded by Bindeschwar Pathak in order to educate the people of India on sanitary waste disposal. He is a consultant to the Economic and Social Council of the U.N. The aims of the museum are to not only educate the people of India on sanitary waste disposal, but to make available to the world the technological developments of the past in order to develop new and better technologies for the future of sanitary waste disposal. The museum houses toilets from all stages of history which are used in these studies. I can’t wait to go there someday!

Museum exploration can be a very gratifying way to absorb another culture. The vast
array of museums alone is enough to boggle the mind and fascinate the senses. So the next time you are visiting friends or family in a city far from home, and experience that familiar sense of ennui , pick up the local phone book or tour guide, gather the troops, and explore an alternative museum. You never know what you will find, and what you may learn! If anything, you will all have a few laughs! For more information on these and other alternative museums, take a look at the websites listed below.

Sources Consulted:

www.spectrumnet.com/pez/

www.spielzeugmuseum.rothenburg.de/index_e.html

www.barbiemuseum.cz/

http://goeurope.about.com/library/weekly/aa081802b.htm

www.liberace.org/liberace/museum.cfm

www.sulabhtoiletmuseum.org



Essay on Museums and Historical Places

This is an example of an essay on museums and historical places.

It is a causes (or 'reasons') and solutions essay as you have to explain why local people visit these places less than tourists, and then present ways to encourage more local people to visit.

It is common for IELTS candidates to only discuss one aspect, either causes or solutions, but not both.

You should always read the question carefully to make sure that you know exactly what you are being asked to do.

This will avoid you making this mistake, which is important as partially answering the question will lead to your score being reduced.

Take a look at the question, then examine the model answer and read the comments that follow.




Museums and Historical Places Essay Model


Essay on Museums and Historical Places - Model Answer

Although most places have sites of historical interest and a variety of museums to visit, it is predominantly tourists who come to see them, not local people. This essay will examine the reasons for this before suggesting some possible methods of attracting local people.

The main factor is the different motivations of tourists and local people. For a tourist, the aim when visiting another country, city or region, is to learn about that new place and possibly to understand its culture and history. Visiting historical sites and museums is an excellent way to do this. On the other hand, local people have often lived in the area for much of their lives, and have either learned this at school or understand it through personal experience. In addition, tourists are on holiday and have set aside time and money for these activities. However, local people may be too busy working and prefer to prioritise their spending on such things as school, shopping and socialising.

Despite this, attendance of local people could be encouraged in a variety of ways. First and foremost, the perception of museums and historical sites could be changed by holding events at these places. For example, they could hold cultural festivals or galas for the community to celebrate a unique aspect of that particular place. Another possibility is to have special promotions, such as a reduced price or free tickets provided in local newspapers and magazines. Related to this, concession cards could also be provided to local people so they are encouraged to come more regularly.

In conclusion, tourists have different motivating factors to local people, which accounts for the reasons that they are more likely to visit museums and historical sites. That said, it is possible to encourage attendance by local people through cultural events and promotions.

(300 words)




Comments

The essay on museums and historical places begins well by introducing the topic and then explaining in the thesis statement the purpose of the essay.

The first body paragraph clearly deals with the first aspect of the question, explaining the reasons why tourists prefer to attend museums and historical sites than local people. Two reasons are given for this.

The second body paragraph then sets out possible solutions to the problem of low attendance of local people. Two solutions are presented with some examples to support them.

The conclusion then summarises the main arguments that have been presented.

The essay is thus well-organised and supported, and has a good range of grammar and vocabulary, with high levels of accuracy.

The essay would thus score highly in the IELTS test.



 

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Many museums and historical sites are mainly visited by tourists rather than local people.

Why is this?

What can be done to encourage local people to visit museums and historical sites?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge.

Write at least 250 words.

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